In Watchmen's Clothing, the Past is PresentBreaking News
tags: clothing history, Watchmen, clothing, costume design
Watchmen is a story about history. It’s also a story about giant squids and a blue man who lives on Mars, but mostly it’s about history. Its narrative spans almost a century, touching on events unknown by some, like the Tulsa massacre, and events familiar to us but with different outcomes from our own history, like the Vietnam War. Its characters reckon with a past that’s at once inspirational, painful, and forgotten by those who would like to pretend that it never occurred.
But just as it does every other part of our culture, the past has an impact on the how and why of our clothing; it can live on in something as simple as the ticket pocket that now sits unused on so many suit jackets, a vestige of a time before rideshare apps and electronic fares. The histories of our hometowns, our countries, and our world at large are laced through the pieces that we put on our backs, but perhaps what most influences our clothing is the ways in which those broader histories connect to our personal ones. In the Watchmen costume-design work of Meghan Kasperlik, we can see how all of those historical threads, the small and close as well as the universal, come together to aid, but never overwhelm, a story that brings to light some of those moments previously hidden away.
“I think the research is the most exciting part of it, because you are really going back and learning about history and what people were doing,” says Kasperlik. “I really like to take little details and little moments that I’m finding not only within the costumes but what was happening in their houses and what their professions were.” It’s that sort of attention to small details — a flash of a print, a fabric choice, a specific hue — that help bring this layered story to life.
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